Let's try to teach something from other's works. For example let's take Inquisitor, work by David Watanabe([link]
. I found this image through Google while looking for some interface refs.
Copyright © 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. Concept+Design by David Watanabe
Let's take original image and desaturate it to get luminance values. And then one more image with maximum contrast and minumum brightness.
All right. Let's take a look on first one image.
1) The most noticible item - is blue rectangle with icon and white text on it.BTW, title on it is typed with white bold font and small description below it with regular white font. I think it's done to create large "white spot" and to attract users eye to this location. It shows selected item (i assume
- the most important location. If we'll take a look on desaturated version we will see that this recatangle with text for large light gray area which attracts our eye the most.
2)This thing is going second because the most noticible part was blue. Our eye will look for simillar items - other search results. they are shown on dark underlay. Title is typed with bold white font, but part search criteria is marked with blue color. Description below is typed with dark grey regular font.This was done to attract less attention. On desaturated version we can see that white bold title attracts attention, while grey description is hardly noticeble (we can see this even more clearly on high contrast version)
3)and 4) Don't know how this thing working ^__^ So let's assume this thing remamber where we were before and show us this information. And again - don't know why one of the is larger than other - maybe because it have more visits, or they were done a while ago... If someone will describe this to me - that would be great ^__^ The reason why i thought this thing going 3) and 4) is because of color. Eye seek for changes and after blue color we have green, white and dark greay."Black" is assumed as background color.
5)Next thing - is recent simmilar searches. Bold white on black + icons. Good contrast. Yet still a bit less than colored elements. Yet on desaturated and high-contrast versions this icons create large white eye-catching spot.It seems that this should distruct user, but then again - eye catches color elements first and then all greyscale elements.
6)Short-cuts and some information about recent searches. If you will take closely you will notice that it's typed with a bit lighter font than description of search results. Looks like this information have higher priority.